A protester says California police forced her to drink cold water to lower her temperature so she could be put in jail

  • A California protester has accused police of forcing her to drink cold water to get her temperature low enough so she could be jailed, according to a report seen by Newsweek.
  • The unidentified woman was part of a group of demonstrators who chained themselves to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s house on Monday demanding for him to release prison inmates due to coronavirus fears.
  • The 14 arrested protesters have since accused jail staff of unhygienic practices, citing clogged toilets, cramped cells, and no sanitation.
  • The demonstrators also say they were denied food and water “for the entire 16 hours,” and that they didn’t get medical attention despite some of them falling sick.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A protester who was arrested outside California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s house on Monday accused police of unsafe practices after she was allegedly forced to drink cold water to lower her temperature enough so she could be jailed.

In a report seen by Newsweek, the unidentified woman said she had begun to “show a high fever” upon her arrival at Sacramento County Jail and was subsequently made to drink cold water.

She had recently tested negative for COVID-19, but protesters have said that artificially lowering her temperature could have put others at risk of contracting the virus.

The woman was part of a group of 14 demonstrators who were arrested after they chained themselves to the gate of Newsom’s property on Monday. They were demanding the release of prison inmates due to coronavirus fears, and implored Newsom to halt transfers from prisons to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody (ICE). 

The group has since accused police and jail staff of unhygienic practices, citing clogged toilets, cramped cells, and mask-less jail staff who allegedly forced the protesters to put their unwashed fingers in their mouths to show they were not hiding any “contraband,” Newsweek reported.

According to the report, the demonstrators also said they were denied food and water “for the entire 16 hours” they were in custody and weren’t given any medical attention even though one of them “became so severely ill that they were vomiting for hours, dizzy, losing their vision, experiencing cold sweats, and suffering from a migraine.”

“When we asked for hand sanitizer to perform this task safely, officers repeatedly refused, despite the fact that a medical staff member had a bottle of hand sanitizer just one room over,” the group said in the report, according to Newsweek.

The group was charged with trespassing and failure to leave, unlawful assembly and failure to disperse after a warning, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Responding to the protest outside his home on Monday, Newsom said in a virtual press briefing that he was working on addressing the ongoing problem of coronavirus outbreaks in prisons, jails, and ICE detention centers in the state. 

“The worst thing we could do is mass release, where people are just released out to the streets and sidewalks, and end up in benches and up in parks, on the side of the road,” he said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “That’s not compassion, that would be…making the problem, in fact, worse.”

At the time of writing, the Sacramento County Jail had not responded to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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